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PHP frameworks popularity comparison – Yii vs CodeIgniter vs Zend vs Cakephp

This article is posted to show the popularity and trends for the most used PHP frameworks in 2012. The article is written in September 2012 and uses google trends to show and compare the popularity and search volume of 4 great MVC php frameworks: Yii, CodeIgniter, Zend & CakePHP.

Yii Framework

First Stable Release: December 2008
Latest Version (at the time of writing this post): 1.1.12 / August 2012
Description: Yii is a  PHP5 framework that comes with rich features: MVC, DAO/ActiveRecord, I18N/L10N, caching, authentication and role-based access control, scaffolding, testing… Yii is the newest framework between all 4 compared php frameworks.



First Stable Release: February 2006
Latest Version (at the time of writing this post): 2.1.2 / June 2012
Description: CodeIgniter is a PHP framework with a small footprint and great documentation. (PHP 5 is required and support for PHP 4 is gone since the release of version 2.0)


Zend Framework

First Stable Release: July 2007
Latest Version (at the time of writing this post): 1.12.0 / August 2012;
Description: Zend Framework is a PHP5 framework usually used in building big applications and can be a large overhead for small projects. It includes loosely coupled components with minimal interdependencies that can be easily integrated within other frameworks.



First Stable Release: May 2006
Latest Version (at the time of writing this post): 2.2.2 / September 2012;
Description: CakePHP is a PHP framework that comes with a lot of features: code generation, translations, database access, caching, validation, authentication… CakePHP is not considered as the most flexible framework.  (PHP 5 is required and support for PHP 4 is dropped since the release of version 2.0)


Comparison Chart

 frameworks comaprison chart


  • CodeIgniter and Yii Framework popularity and search volume index is increasing
  • Yii is the fastest growing php framework for now
  • Zend Framework and CakePHP popularity and possibly usage is declining
  • You should note that if the keywork ‘zend’ is used instead of ‘zend framework’ the search volume index would be a lot higher for Zend Framework but the decline in 2009 will remain obvious.

This post does not compare features or usability, if you’re interested in such comparison you can check the following articles:

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